When filmmaker Galvin Scott Davis realised his son was being bullied he unknowingly came up with a beautiful new way to deal with the heartbreaking problem. Galvin created the App, Dandelion, which is the story of a little boy named Benjamin who overcame bullying through the symbolic action of making a wish via a Dandelion. The App was number one on iTunes and went on to become a bestselling book.
Daisy Chain is the follow up book, which explores the theme of young girls and the cyber-bullying crisis. In the animation film adaptation, Galvin worked with Kate Winslet in voicing. Here, Galvin exclusively shares his story behind the film and the new approach to tackling bullying…
“’Bullying is for people with no imagination”. These were the words that I spoke to my son on the day he told me he was being bullied. At the time, it seemed like a fairly innocuous thing to say. But then I saw his eyes light up. These words meant something to him. In that moment I knew that words would be the most powerful thing I could give him to help him understand how to stand up to others.
My son’s experience with bullying was (thankfully) quite minor. A protracted dispute with a boy who had once been his friend. Boys will be boys. Yet seeing his confidence shrink each day reminded me of that same feeling I would get when faced with bullying at his age. I could feel the knot in my son’s stomach. Could see his smile fade. Could hear his unanswerable question…”why me?”.
There’s not a person among us that has not experienced bullying in one form or another both as a child and often, as an adult. Yet when I needed to discuss the subject with my boy, I was unable to find a children’s book on his shelf that gave us the words we needed. So I decided to write them myself.
My first book, ‘Dandelion’, was the story of a little boy, Benjamin Brewster, who just didn’t fit in. I wrote it as an ode to my son to let him know that he wasn’t alone. That, yes, even Dad’s were bullied at one point in their life. We’ve all been there, but it does get better. Sometimes you just need to use your imagination to find a way to speak up and stand up.
Benjamin uses magical dandelions to imagine scenarios that build his confidence until one day he stands up to his adversaries. Though there is no one solution to bullying, rebuilding the confidence that bullies can dismantle is a start.
The book made a difference and became a hit on the App store as an interactive app. I saw the difference it made to my son and to others. So I made a decision. The story couldn’t end there…
‘Daisy Chain’ is the second story in the Dandelion series. A fable about a little girl called Buttercup Bree who just wants to tell the world that sharing is for caring. A tale that explains the perils of cyber bullying.
I’m probably guilty of allowing my kids to interact too freely with their devices. The pressures of social media are already apparent. Too easy to say the wrong thing. Post the wrong image. It’s a minefield that set off with one thoughtless key stroke. And the impact can rarely be taken back.
I wanted Daisy Chain’s message to be shared. To make this possible, I needed a larger voice than mine. Someone who spoke to both boys and girls. Someone like Kate Winslet. Yes, the Kate Winslet. In my mind, she was the perfect voice for the book, the perfect role model. Someone who had been vocal about acceptance of who we are and accepting others as they are. So I took a chance and sent her the book. Asked if she would narrate. To my surprise, she responded. Buttercup’s story spoke to her and she generously gave her voice to help others who generally do not have the confidence to use theirs.
I’d met Kate twenty years previous on a film set. She had been approachable, friendly and had asked me what my ambition was. When I told her that I wanted to write and create stories she had a parting piece of advice: “Never give up”. Twenty years on, I got to work with her on a project that could not have been more appropriate for those words. Never give up.
Nowadays I remind my son that words can be powerful. Choose them wisely, use them well and try to inspire others when they hear them. Because the words you so bravely spoke to me changed so many things for the better.”
Daisy Chain is now available on the App Store and the animated film can be watched here